Pay for Your Own F–king Dictatorship

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To: His Eminence, King of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu

From: A Humble High Tech Slave

Dear Sire,

Ideological debates are messy. By your leave, let’s leave ideology out of it for a minute. Democracy, theocracy, autocracy, dictatorship? Who cares? Let LGBTQs live their lives or foment medieval hatred of them? Whatevs. Retain a sane system of checks and balances in government? Nu, b’emet…

Let’s just pretend for now that all these pesky, incendiary ideological matters aren’t really the crux of the issue.

Let’s just talk about money, Sire. It’s so much less emotional, don’t you agree? Governments run on the stuff, and so do Prime Ministers — as any fan of the pink bubbly and a good Havana should know.

You see, Papaya’s decision to pull capital from Israel was just the first. In fact, as I was writing this article, two more VCs gave notice that they’re pulling their assets out. As you know, the high tech sector (of which I am a proud member) produces 15% of the GDP and 43% of our exports. The same workers that went on strike the other day generate collectively no less than a quarter of the income taxes your government collects.

In a very real sense, my Liege, the same hundreds of thousands of people that are showing up every Saturday night on bridges and cities across the country to protest your actions are the very people who are paying for your ice cream, your vanity plane, and much of the rest of the country’s bills.

And guess what? That’s not a given.

To start with, more and more individuals like myself are thinking twice about where their capital should be. They’re quietly moving money out of the country. They’re buying properties overseas. They’re getting hold of second passports. There are already calls by prominent public figures for a tax rebellion (not that I condone that), and thousands of high-earning high tech employees are reconsidering where their professional futures (and future tax Shekels) should actually lie.

But, yeah, as you just said in your press conference, there’s no room for hysteria. Everything will be just fine. Let’s be real. The waning of Israel’s burgeoning high tech scene, the flight of private capital, and the emigration of our cultural, academic and professional elite will not happen tomorrow, after all. And it will not bring down the country next month. I mean, geez, look how long countries like Lebanon and Iran have held out over the past decades, after all…

The issue I humbly lay before you, Your Highness, is simply one of cashflow. You’ve steered Israeli society and our still-strong economy right up to the edge of the cliff. Our front wheels are literally hanging off the edge. Keeping the country from plunging over into the Chasm of the Failed State takes control. Control takes power. State power – especially in a country largely lacking in natural resources – starts with taxes and investment, i.e. MONEY.

So basically, you need me and people like me to keep paying you to subvert our democracy. Ask yourself what happens if I – and hundreds of thousands like me – are suddenly no longer willing to finance the pathetic and bleak exercise in self-aggrandizement that is your prime ministership?

My Liege, I say to you with the utmost deference: if you want to turn Israel into a Hungary-like dictatorship, you’d better hurry and open a GoFundMe account, because you’re gonna have to pay for it your f–king self.


Steven Greenberg

About the Author
Steven Greenberg is an award-winning novelist (see , a professional writer (see, and a full-time cook, cleaner, chauffeur and single dad for three young adults (see his dishpan hands). Born in Texas, Steven grew up in Indiana and emigrated to Israel just months before the first Gulf War in 1990. He's a former combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces, who never learned to properly salute despite his rank of Sergeant. And he's a career marketer, who's run a home-grown marketing boutique since 2002.
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